مَنْ أَطَالَ الاْمَلَ أَسَاءَ الْعَمَلَ۔

Whoever prolongs his desire ruins his actions.



Whoever prolongs his desire ruins his actions.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #36)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Whoever prolongs his desire ruins his actions.

This Hadith emphasizes the importance of moderation and self-control in our desires and ambitions. Let us delve deeper into the meanings of the key words in this Hadith to gain a better understanding.

The word (ataala) "أَطَالَ" means to prolong or extend. It refers to the act of excessively indulging in desires and ambitions, without considering the consequences or limits set by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This excessive pursuit of desires can lead to neglecting one's duties and responsibilities towards Allah and others.

The word (amal) "اْمَلَ" means actions or deeds. It encompasses all our actions, whether they are physical, verbal, or even thoughts. Our actions are the manifestation of our intentions and beliefs, and they have a direct impact on our spiritual growth and moral character.

To understand the profound wisdom behind this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Qasas, verse 77:

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.

This verse highlights the importance of balancing our desires for worldly pursuits with our ultimate goal of seeking the pleasure of Allah and attaining success in the Hereafter. We are reminded not to forget our responsibilities in this world, but at the same time, we should not let our desires lead us towards corruption and wrongdoing.

Another verse that sheds light on the concept of moderation is found in Surah Al-Isra, verse 29:

And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent.

This verse warns against two extremes - being miserly and withholding one's wealth, or being extravagant and spending excessively. Both extremes are discouraged as they lead to negative consequences and ruin one's actions. The balanced approach is to spend within our means and fulfill our obligations towards ourselves, our families, and the society.

Now, let us reflect on the implications of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement. When we allow our desires to consume us and become the sole focus of our lives, we lose sight of our true purpose and the path of righteousness. Our actions become tainted with selfishness, greed, and negligence towards our duties as Muslims.

For example, if a person becomes excessively attached to material possessions and wealth, they may resort to dishonest means to acquire more, neglecting the principles of honesty and integrity. Similarly, if one becomes overly obsessed with worldly success and fame, they may compromise their moral values and engage in unethical practices.

On the other hand, if we exercise self-control and moderation in our desires, we can channel our energies towards fulfilling our obligations as Muslims and serving others. We can strive for success in both this world and the Hereafter, without compromising our values and principles.

Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) thought-provoking saying serves as a reminder for us to be mindful of our desires and ambitions. It urges us to prioritize our spiritual growth and moral character over fleeting worldly pleasures. By doing so, we can ensure that our actions are sincere, righteous, and pleasing to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the wisdom and strength to control our desires and align them with His guidance. May He bless us with the ability to perform righteous actions that bring us closer to Him and benefit humanity. Ameen.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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